Triathlons are intense races that involve 3 stages, one of which is swimming. Instead of having 3 different outfits, triathlon wetsuits aim to give you everything you need in one suit. The best triathlon wetsuits will be flexible, meet the requirements for thickness, and allow you to not get overheated. There are many of these types of wetsuits out there of varying quality and cost. Here we will go over a wide range of them to help you understand which kind is going to work best for your specific needs.
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Best High-Quality Triathlon Wetsuit- ROKA Maverick Comp II Men’s Wetsuit for Swimming and Triathlons
The ROKA Maverick Comp II is the highest quality wetsuit using the best materials and craftsmanship. Of course, all this comes at a higher price than the other wetsuits on this list, but if you have a decent budget and are serious about triathlons, you should keep reading.
- Super Composite Skin- The hydrophobic nano-coating helps to reduce drag which helps you move much faster through the water.
- Helps with Body Positioning- Because of the graduated buoyancy profile, your body will maintain proper positioning throughout the triathlon.
- High-Quality Premium Materials- The interior liners have been specially optimized for mechanics, support, comfort, stretch, and absorption. This suit uses the best available neoprene imported from Japan made by the Yamamoto Company.
- No Shoulder Restriction- This wetsuit has a patented ‘arms up’ construction which makes for zero shoulder restriction when in use.
- Centerline Buoyancy- ROKA has another patent on this suit for the centerline buoyancy which allows for faster side-to-side rotation while swimming in the wetsuit.
- The best possible materials make it last for years
- Easy to move in due to no shoulder restriction
- Able to move fast through the water
- Centerline buoyancy helps to stay balanced while swimming
- Expensive compared to other wetsuits on this list
The Roka Maverick Comp II is not a wetsuit that is going to appeal to everyone. The number one factor restricting this from being available to everyone is the price. Only people that are extremely serious about competing in triathlons will be attracted to this suit. For those who can afford this one, it has everything you could possibly want in a wetsuit. It has been meticulously designed for the rigors of competing in a triathlon. It is comfortable and will last for years to come, but it will set you back a nice chunk of change!
Best Overall Value for the Money- Synergy Triathlon Wetsuit – Men’s Synergy Endorphin Full Sleeve Smooth Skin Neoprene for Open Water Swimming Ironman Approved
The Synergy Triathlon Full Sleeve Smooth Skin Suit makes the list for the number one best overall value for the money in the triathlon wetsuit category. It has won the award for editor’s choice winner in Triathlete Magazine, which is high praise indeed. It is a full-body wetsuit with full sleeves and meets the thickness requirements for a triathlon suit. It is not the cheapest suit, but it is not as expensive as the ROKA model which made the best high-quality suit on our list.
- USAT and Ironman Approved- It meets all the requirements for USAT and the Ironman specs as well. It is also endorsed by several athletes.
- Excellent Functionality- With 680% flexibility it is one of the most flexible in the category. It has high-grade anti-corrosion zippers. Comes with a soft low neck which is comfortable and makes it feel like you are not wearing anything on your neck.
- Technology- The neoprene is hydrodynamic meaning it has been tested to move gracefully through the water with minimal drag. It has 5mm thick neoprene in the core with even thinner arms at 2mm and the legs only 3mm. This makes the suit feel like part of your body.
- Buoyancy- This suit has 5mm buoyancy which is the maximum allowed for triathlon suits. This makes you move through the water faster as it aids you in floating on the water, taking some of the weight off your arms and legs.
- Guarantee- It comes with a 30-day guarantee where you can return if not satisfied. Additionally, it comes with a 2-year warranty.
- USAT and Ironman approved means it is legal to wear in any race
- Flexible- This is one of the most flexible suits available which helps you move faster
- Guaranteed- The company stands behind the product and it comes with a 2-year warranty
- High Tech- With great care taken in the design and high-quality materials used it is a high-performance suit.
- Not the most budget-friendly option available
This is the best value for money option for anyone who is serious about triathlons. If you are one of those people, you already expect to pay over a hundred bucks for a high-performance suit that meets the requirements of being a triathlon suit. This offers many of the same benefits as our highest quality pick, with a significant drop in the price. It may not be affordable for everyone, but for those that are already in the game, it is the best value for the money we could find.
Runner Up (Second Best) Value for the Money- Orca S7 Men’s Full sleeve USAT Approved Triathlon Wetsuit
This Orca S7 is almost as good as the Synergy above, but not quite as flexible and just a little bit less quality, but it is a close call. The Orca is an extremely well-made suit and will meet your needs if you are a serious athlete. It is another full sleeve model with many of the high-quality features you have come to expect in the over 200 bucks price bracket.
- Uses Yamamoto neoprene, which is the industry leader in quality.
- Very flexible material with 513% flexibility (as opposed to over 600% above). This flexible material is a huge benefit in the range of motion you will experience while swimming.
- Uses SCS or super composite skin making it a smooth skin wetsuit that helps reduce drag and friction in the water.
- Has Hydrolite panels which help you to remove the wetsuit faster and change it into something else. This comes in handy in a triathlon when you want to put on pants or shorts.
- Uses special interior material called infinity skin which is comfortable and makes wearing the suit a good experience. This material also keeps heat in for longer and reduces body odor too.
- Extremely comfortable to wear and swim in
- Allows you to move fast through the water with super composite skin
- Hydrolite panels make removing and putting on the suit easy
- High-quality neoprene made by the Yamamoto company which is the leader in the industry
- Nearly as good as Synergy in almost every way except price
- Graphic design is not going to appeal to everyone
- Still a bit expensive
This Orca is an extremely well-made and high-quality professional-level wetsuit, it is just not quite as good as the Synergy, and it costs a little more too. However, every wet suit fits a little differently, and each person has their own taste and style. For these reasons it was worth including here even though it is not as good as Synergy. It is a close call, to be honest, these two suits are awfully close in quality, but the Synergy stretches more and has more pro features and endorsements. This may be perfect for you if it suits your taste and you can afford a few extra bucks more than Synergy.
Best Women’s Full Sleeve- Synergy Triathlon Wetsuit 5/3mm - Women's Endorphin Full Sleeve Smooth Skin Neoprene for Open Water Swimming Ironman & USAT Approved
The Synergy Full Sleeve Smooth Skinsuit is our pick for the best in the women’s category. It comes with a professional-level price tag, but with all the features you get, it is worth it. For any serious women triathletes, the cost of this suit is not going to come as a surprise. Suits of this caliber are expensive, but you get what you pay for. This suit has some impressive features to go with the impressive price tag!
- Triathlete magazine editor’s choice award- Suitable for all levels of triathlons
- Maximum buoyancy will help you stay afloat longer and make swimming easier by reducing your body weight in the water.
- High Tech- The neoprene is hydrodynamic making it move easily in the water. It is made with Yamamoto neoprene with silicon-coated Syprene. It has a 5mm core and 3mm legs and back sections with only 2mm thick arms and shoulder sections.
- Excellent functionality- This suit allows for 680% flexibility, much like the Synergy in the men’s category this is one of the most flexible suits on the market. The more flexible, the easier to move, the easier to move, the faster you can go.
- Exceptional quality wetsuit made with Yamamoto materials
- Extremely stretchy and flexible with 680% flexibility
- Thin and buoyant
- Legal suit meeting the requirements of all major races
- Some customers said it was not a good fit for bigger arms and shoulders
- Costs more than many other options
This is not the suit for you if you are a big-boned lady with broad shoulders or very well-developed biceps. It can be known to fit tight in the arms and shoulders of bigger women. This is made of the best neoprene available and has been designed and tested by one of the leading makers of wetsuits. It is a legal suit for any major triathlon, meaning it is no more than 5mm thick anywhere on the suit. It will help you along in the water and keep you warm. However, it is not a cheap purchase, but considering the market for pro-level suits, it is quite reasonable.
Best Women’s Sleeveless- Synergy Triathlon Wetsuit - Women's Endorphin Sleeveless Quick John Smooth Skin Neoprene for Open Water Swimming Ironman & USAT Approved
It may be no surprise to see another Synergy suit in the best sleeveless category. The company uses the best materials and manages to create extremely well-made wetsuits for a fair price. This Endorphin sleeveless quick John is another USAT and Ironman approved pro suit. As the name implies it is a sleeveless suit with short legs. It is quite a bit less money than the full sleeve version above, but it has less material being sleeveless and legless.
- A great entry-level suit, suitable for all levels of triathletes. It comes in many sizes, so chances are good you can find one that fits.
- Proven technology makes this another high-performance wetsuit. It has hydrodynamic neoprene which is made by the Yamamoto company and will last a long time. It has 5mm thickness in the core and torso with 3mm on the legs and back. This is quite thin and stretchy.
- The maximum range of motion of 680%, which is quite a bit more than many other suits in this price range.
- Guaranteed- Comes with a 30-day guarantee as well as a 2-year warranty.
- Super flexible
- High Tech design
- Smooth skin for moving fast in the water
- Great range of motion
- Industry-leading material
- 2-year warranty
- Sleeveless suit may not keep you as warm
- Some customers said it’s hard to find a fit for larger bodies
The sleeveless Synergy is a solid choice for an entry-level suit that still maintains high-quality standards and is legal for a triathlon suit. It is made of the best neoprene and is engineered to be extremely flexible. It will allow you to move in any direction with virtually no resistance. The only caveat to this suit is that it may not be a good fit if you have a larger body, especially in the upper body area.
Best for Ironman- Synergy Triathlon Wetsuit 3/2mm - Volution Full Sleeve Smooth Skin Neoprene for Open Water Swimming Ironman & USAT Approved
This is an Ironman-approved suit that has full sleeves and legs, made by Synergy. It is a 3/2 mm construction which is nice and thin and will not slow you down. It is suitable for a pro-level triathlete as well as a beginner, and the price point is reasonable considering the level of quality. It will cost you more than a cheap suit, but it will also last longer and perform much better and keep you out of trouble since it is the range of acceptable thickness to be an Ironman triathlon wetsuit.
- Like other Synergy offerings, the volution full sleeve suit comes with a 30-day guarantee and a 2-year warranty. This is not something many of the cheaper suits offer.
- Again, this one has the hydrodynamic neoprene construction which makes it stretchy, and the surface is extremely smooth which reduces drag on the body while you are in the water.
- The Volution has a full range of motion and an anti-corrosion internal zipper which ensures no irritation or rust. It features an extra soft low neck opening on with smooth skin on both sides keeping your neck comfortable and eliminating any chaffing.
- Meets the requirements of Ironman and is endorsed by the organization.
- Extra flexibility and buoyancy make it easier to swim in with an enhanced range of motion.
- Good choice for beginners as well as professional athletes
- High-quality build materials will last a long time
- Good guarantee policy and warranty (30-day guarantee / 2-year warranty)
- At the time of this writing, it was the #1 top seller
- More expensive than some other suits for beginners
- Some customers said the warranty does not cover many things that normally happen
When I said this was good for beginners, I should have said, serious beginners. You can find a triathlon wetsuit for much less money, but I do not think you will find a better Ironman-approved and endorsed suit for anywhere near this price. It has all the features of more expensive suits but will not cost you as much as some of the higher-end models with the same features. If you are going to compete in the Ironman, this suit is a good deal and a fair price.
Best Budget- Synergy Men’s Triathlon Trisuit
The Synergy men’s Trisuit is a sleeveless shorty suit that helps keep the cost down. The less expensive material that is used the less it costs the manufacturer. This suit has received many five-star ratings and comes in a crazy variety of colors and sizes. It could have won the best entry-level suit, but the best budget suit is kind of the same thing if the price is your main criteria (like many beginners). This is unique in that it is made of microbial fleece instead of neoprene which will have a bit more drag in the water. The fancy neoprene used for Synergy suits makes them expensive, using microbial fleece here helps make this another great entry-level suit.
- Performance NeoGel pad with the soft fleece helps to keep you comfortable.
- Has 2 mesh pockets in the back which many other suits do not have.
- Leg grippers keep the suit in place, so you do not have to deal with adjusting while you are performing.
- Advanced fabric- The semi-compression materials allow you to move freely and perform to the best of your ability. The extra-large arm openings prevent any chaffing that can happen sometimes with sleeveless suits.
- Great for beginners- Simple to use and has an attractive price point.
- Tons of color and size options for the indecisive newbie to choose from.
- Affordable price, making it a smart option for somebody just starting out.
- Comfortable microbial fleece makes it soft and easy to wear.
- Not the level of quality as the higher end neoprene suits
This low-cost suit still ticks many of the boxes as the higher-end models, but make no mistake, the neoprene suits are on a completely different level. For somebody with a small budget just starting out in the triathlons, this is an extremely good choice. It will be comfy, lightweight, and easy to use while staying in place and preventing any chaffing or discomfort. This is a beginner’s suit, do not expect a professional level suit for this price. However, this does come close!
Triathlon Wetsuit Buyer’s Guide
You have seen a nice list of suits with some information about each one, but if you are new to the triathlon wetsuit world, how do you know what to look for in a new wetsuit? There are various things to pay attention to, and some specifications you should be aware of. Also, most of the suits on this list are available in multiple sizes. It is a good idea to know your measurements before shopping around, because these are meant to fit snug, and it is better to know what you are in for before ordering a new one.
In this section, we will go over some of the important things to look out for, which will help you narrow down the field and make a more informed decision.
Why are they Different Than Normal Wetsuits?
Triathlon suits are engineered to offer a wide range of motion, be lightweight, remain comfortable over extended periods of time, and they must meet buoyancy requirements to be considered a triathlon wetsuit.
Normal wetsuits tend to be much thicker and more rigid with the importance being placed on sturdiness and keeping you warm and safe. This is a completely different mindset when you compare it to the design of triathlon suits.
When diving you are often going deep where the water is extremely cold, and you will most likely be swimming underwater which does not require a full range of motion since you are just kicking your feet and moving your arms in front of you.
Triathlon suits are used when swimming fast, usually on top of the water where you will be using the full range of motion in your shoulders and kicking your legs much harder than while on a deep water dive. You may even be wearing a triathlon suit for a period outside the water, so they need to be lightweight and extra stretchy, and flexible.
There is a requirement for triathlons that state the suits may not exceed 5mm of thickness or buoyancy to be considered legal. All Ironman or triathlon suits must meet this requirement, with most suits being 5mm in the torso and thinner in the shoulders and legs to facilitate even more range of motion.
These suits are typically made of the best neoprene on the market which is more stretchy and more expensive than the foamy rigid kind you will get with a deep diving suit.
Types of Triathlon Wetsuits
Now that you understand the difference between regular wetsuits and triathlon or Ironman wetsuits, you will notice it gets even more confusing. There are different types and styles of these wetsuits, each one with specific differences that will play into your decision of whether the suit will meet your needs. In this next section, we will cover some of these differences.
Full sleeve triathlon suits are exactly what they sound like. They are made of the same materials and designed in much the same way as other suits, but they have a key difference. They have sleeves that extend to around the lower forearm and sometimes closer to the wrist. Full sleeve suits tend to be more expensive because the neoprene used for these suits comes at a steep cost. The more material that is used (especially the Yamamoto neoprene) the more expensive the suit will be.
Full sleeve suits have the benefit of covering your arms while you are swimming which will help keep your entire body a little warmer, which can make a big difference especially if you are swimming in frigid water. Sleeves also have the benefit of adding some compression to your body which some athletes prefer, stating it keeps the limbs more limber and flexible as they perform.
The sleeveless variety of these suits are typically less expensive for the reasons stated above. This tends to make many of the beginner or entry-level suits sleeveless. Some triathletes prefer sleeveless suits because they do not like the feeling of compression on their arms while swimming. This has the downside of not offering as much warmth as full-sleeved versions.
The opposite can also be said. If you have no material on your arms your body will be much cooler, which may be appropriate if you are swimming or running in the heat. Each athlete has their own taste when it comes to a sleeveless or full sleeves. You just must consider which style you think you would like best. If you have large arms with big muscles, a full sleeve suit may end up being uncomfortable in the arms, even though they are very flexible. It comes down to personal choice, and the weather conditions of the competition.
Men’s suits are typically sized a bit larger in the shoulders and smaller at the hip, with larger arms on the full sleeve models. There tend to be some other anatomical differences in the construction which makes logical sense if you consider men have different parts! There is no quality difference necessarily between men's and women’s triathlon suits, only design differences to match the different anatomies of men and women. There are some women that prefer to wear men’s suits due to the lack of availability for larger or more muscular women to fit into the women’s sized suits.
Women’s suits are a bit smaller overall than men’s suits. Like almost all women’s clothing the manufacturers fail to acknowledge that not all women are shaped the same or are the same size. There are a fair number of complaints around sizing women’s suits on almost every major manufacturer’s websites and reviews.
In general, women’s suits have more space at the hips and glutes, and in the breast area while being slenderer at the arm and upper legs. There are no major tech or design differences between men’s and women’s suits, just adjustments for size and shape. You will find that there are more interesting colors in the women’s category, however.
Features to Look For
Now that we have covered the different types of suits, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. There are so many of these on the market as triathlons have become more popular and the market has expanded to meet the demand for these specialized suits. Depending on your skill level, budget, body type, local climate, and many other factors, not all suits are going to be ideal for you. Use this list of features to look for to narrow down your scope so you can be sure to get a suit that is going to meet your personal needs and expectations.
Value for the Money / Cost
The first thing anyone sees when shopping for almost anything is the price. Price is one thing, but we want to go deeper and look at the value you get for the money you spend. This means you should not just look at the price tag and say no immediately because the price is too high. Instead, consider what your needs are and what you are going to get out of the suit. Your body and determination are the number one factor that determines how your triathlon goes, but the suit can make a big difference especially at the professional level.
Before you get started, keep in mind that almost all high-quality triathlon suits are going to cost well over a hundred bucks, many over two hundred, and some over three. This seems expensive and it is not cheap. However, do not forget that these are not just clothing. These suits are specifically engineered and designed to help you win triathlons.
The material that the high-quality suits use is extremely costly and is made in Japan by a company that specializes in high-grade neoprene. The suits are usually varying thicknesses depending on the part of the suit. This makes manufacturing much more complex since it is not just one slab of material being woven and shaped into a suit. If you are serious about triathlons you want to pay attention to the type of fabric.
Type of Fabric
Most triathlon suits are made of neoprene. Some suits also use a very thin silicon coating on parts of the suit to make them smoother in the water. Many manufacturers of triathlon suits will use a special soft material inside to keep the suit more comfortable as you move around and swim.
The most common type of fabric in the higher quality suits is Yamamoto neoprene. As mentioned earlier the Yamamoto company makes world-famous neoprene that is the gold standard in wetsuits, especially triathlon varieties.
Some lower-budget suits will be made of microfleece. This is a stretchy material that is also soft and just a little bit fuzzy. It is not as smooth as neoprene (especially when coated with silicon) but some say it is a little more comfortable, depending on the lining inside that contacts the skin.
Some diving suits are made of rubber, but you will not find much rubber construction in triathlon suits, rubber is much less flexible and weighs too much to make it into a lightweight ultra-stretchy suit.
The main point to remember when it comes to the material is to look for Yamamoto neoprene. It is the longest-lasting and scratchiest neoprene out there. Some say it is also the most comfortable to wear due to the construction of the fabric.
Not all great suits use Yamamoto neoprene, but almost all the professional-level suits do.
Thickness is something you probably will not have to worry too much about since any suit which calls itself a triathlon suit must meet the industry standard of being 5mm or less thick. Most of the higher-end suits have the even thinner fabric in the shoulders, arms, and legs, which make the suits more flexible and lighter. If you try to use a suit thicker than 5mm you will not be allowed to compete in the triathlon.
When you compare the thickness of triathlon suits to a standard diving suit you will feel and see a noticeable difference. Diving suits or scuba suits are much heavier and rigid, where these versions are extremely lightweight and stretchy.
When shopping for a triathlon suit, make sure you look at the specifications and verify that the suit does not exceed 5mm anywhere.
Ability to Move with Your Body
Most of these suits are going to have a good range of motion, simply since they must be 5mm thick or less. However, some of them go to extra lengths to add more range of motion by engineering thinner material and special seams to allow the body to move more freely.
Keep an eye out for the variances in suit thickness. If the range of motion is important to you, you may want to look for a suit that specifies that it is thinner in the shoulders and legs/hip areas. The thinner material will make it much easier to move and produce less stress on your joints, which really adds up over the course of a long intense triathlon.
The more expensive suits will have more range of motion, this is not a hard and fast rule, but these manufacturers understand how important range of motion is, and they spend extra resources to design suits that meet those needs. Typically, you will not find a cheap suit with varying thicknesses of the material at the shoulders, arms, and legs. That feature is reserved for the higher quality suits, so keep that in mind as you shop.
Seams and Zippers
Seams and zippers are present on every suit. The thing to be aware of are:
- Where are the zippers?
- Will the zipper rub my skin?
- Will the seams cause chaffing over time?
- Are the zippers made of material that will not rust or easily break?
Pay close attention to the pictures of these suits and locate where the zippers are. One poorly placed zipper can make the experience of wearing a suit miserable. To be fair, most of these are designed over years with lots of feedback and trial and error. The high-end suits will not usually have zippers that are going to rub your skin and irritate you.
Luckily, most of the seams on these suits are well designed as well. The bumpier part of the seam tends to be on the outside of the suit leaving the smooth part inside. Most of the time you will not have to worry about seams chafing your skin, especially with the higher-quality suits. That does not mean it can not happen. Once again, look at the pictures and read the customer reviews to make sure you do not end up with annoying seams.
Triathlon Wetsuit FAQ
Q- What to Wear Underneath the Wetsuit?
- If you are using a triathlon wetsuit the answer is, as little as possible. It is a common thing to wear a speedo-style swimsuit under your triathlon suit. Those are the swimsuits that look basically like underwear briefs. The reason for this is that these suits are form-fitting and longer shorts will wrinkle up and chafe your skin as you compete.
- If you are wearing a wetsuit for scuba or diving, it is common to wear some compression clothing for a base layer. Some form-fitting compression shorts and a compression tee shirt are not uncommon.
Q- How Do you Know if it Fits?
- Getting your measurements beforehand is always a smart move. If you know your measurements, the chance of buying a suit that does not fit is less likely. However, if you are new to the world of wetsuits, you should be prepared for the tight fit that is coming your way. These suits are form-fitting and will feel odd at first, especially if you have never worn one before. Once you have bought one that fits, you can use the size of it to inform your sizing decision on the next suit.
Q- When Should You Wear It During a Triathlon?
- The triathlon suit should be worn in the swimming part (obviously), as well as the cycling part, and even in the final run. This basically means, it can be worn during the entire triathlon. Triathlons are called triathlons because they consist of three sections. The triathlon suit is made for all three sections, so it is the only thing you need (except some speedos). Technically you could go fully naked underneath, but imagine if something happened and your suit came off!